Prof Wraps Up One Book, Starts Another
Hobbits and hounds, books and research — such are the things that fill up the summer months for Dr. Devin Brown, Asbury University English professor and Lilly Scholar.
Brown is Asbury’s resident expert on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and, with the upcoming release of the first installment of the film “The Hobbit” later this fall, a very busy author.
Brown’s fourth book, titled “The Christian World of The Hobbit,” is due out in September. He has three books about Narnia, the fictional realm that is the setting for Lewis’s popular “Chronicles of Narnia” series, already in print. Each of them — “Inside Narnia,” “Inside Prince Caspian” and “Inside The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” — were timed to coincide with the release of a film based on Lewis’ corresponding book.
“A scholar who is a leader in his field might get a contract from a university press to write a book in his field that might sell 1,000 copies,” Brown said. “These films have been a great opportunity to introduce the books and writers to a much broader audience. I was writing articles long before there were films, but the films make it possible to write a trade book.”
Also in the works for Brown are a spiritual biography of Lewis to be released in 2013, the year that marks the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death, and a modern retelling of Francis Thompson’s famous poem “The Hound of Heaven.”
The new interpretation of “The Hound of Heaven” (originally written in 1893) will include illustrations and a video.
“The language is dense and difficult, but the concept of the poem is as powerful as ever,” Brown said. “There’s the idea that God pursues us with a relentless love we can’t escape, and that we don’t want to escape.”
With a book in final edits, another book in progress, the poetry collaboration and students returning to campus for classes, Brown anticipates a particularly busy new academic year. However, the opportunities to play a role in expanding minds and hearts are too valuable to pass up.
“The combination of faith and learning at Asbury makes it a great place to do this,” he said.